Statement of Archbishop Hepworth on Response from Holy See

archbishop Statement of Archbishop Hepworth on Response from Holy SeeIn the past three weeks, each of the Bishops and Vicars General who signed the Petition to the Holy See of October 5th 2007 seeking “corporate reunion with the Holy See” has received a formal response.  These letters, from the Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, William Cardinal Levada, complete the process of the response of the Holy See to the Petition, and initiate the process of our formal response to the Apostolic Constitution.

The Cardinal makes the point in his letter that

This provision (the Apostolic Constitution with the Norms and Commentary) constitutes the definitive response of the Holy See not only to your original request, but also to the many others of a similar nature which have been submitted over the last years.

In the Petition, the bishops sought

a communal and ecclesial way of being Anglican Catholics in communion with the Holy See, at once treasuring the full expression of catholic faith and treasuring our tradition within which we have come to this moment.

In another place, they state that the Traditional Anglican Communion was formed, in part

to seek as a body full and visible communion, particularly eucharistic communion, in Christ, with the Roman Catholic Church

The Cardinal, in his letter, acknowledges our request

that some way might be found to welcome groups of clergy and faithful from the Traditional Anglican Communion into full visible unity with the Catholic Church, in a structure that could offer support and witness to the many evident graces of the Anglican tradition.

He goes on the add that, in the period since the submission of the Petition, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has completed a long and detailed study with the aim of making available

A suitable and viable model of organic unity for your and other such groups.

In the concluding paragraph of his letter, Cardinal Levada states that

I am only too aware of the delicate process of discernment that will no doubt need to be embarked upon by many of our Anglican brothers and sisters, and no less of the many difficult practical issues that will need to be faced.

He sets out the initial steps that must be taken in response.

I have replied to Cardinal Levada, thanking him once again for the generous pastoral understanding in what he has written to us.  I have reiterated my thanks for the groundbreaking and historic nature of the Apostolic Constitution.  I note that the Holy Father last week acknowledged the work of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the production of the Apostolic Constitution.  Pope Benedict told the Congregation that

Unity is first and foremost the unity of faith, upheld by the sacred tradition of which Peter's Successor is the primary custodian and defender…the faithful adherence of these groups (of Anglicans) to the truth received from Christ and presented in the Magisterium of the Church is in no way contrary to the ecumenical movement, it reveals, rather the ultimate scope that consists in reaching the full and visible communion of the disciples of the Lord.

I stated in my initial comments on the response of the Holy See last October that our obligation was “to be still in prayer and reflection” as a possibility arises that has been unavailable to communities of Anglicans since the cleavage of the Reformation.  Our bishops, at my request and that of the Holy See, have maintained their quietness until the whole process of promulgation has been completed.

Next week, I will be publishing a commentary on the Constitution for members of the Traditional Anglican Communion.  Now that a formal response has been received, I am also releasing at the same time the text of the Petition.  In my statement, I will be setting out the steps that must now be taken by the whole College of Bishops, and by each part of our Communion.  I emphasize that this “process of discernment” concerns the primary command of Jesus to His Church.  It can neither be hurried nor lightly undertaken.  But I also emphasize that a way of achieving unity has been created that is a direct and immediate response to our Petition, and to delay implementing the fullness of communion that we have sought would be in serious defiance of the will of Jesus for His Church.  Now, above all, we must be sensitive to our Lord, and sensitive to each other.

The process we are following is this:

1. We are already in detailed and fruitful discussion with other Anglican groups mentioned by the Cardinal, and with bishops nominated to liaise with us by Catholic Conferences of Bishops in several parts of the world.

2. In the next few weeks, in Japan, Central America, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Torres Strait, and a little later in India, Africa and Europe, I will have the opportunity of meeting with many of the clergy and people of our Communion.  Regional gatherings of bishops, clergy and people are being organized in each part of our Communion.  I look forward very much to being with you.

3. I will be calling a full meeting of the College of Bishops for Eastertide, 2010.  The bishops will make a formal response to the Holy See, which will be followed in due time by canonical steps in the member churches of the Traditional Anglican Communion.

In the meantime, as we contemplate our response, we do well to read again and again the words of Jesus in the great prayer to His Father for the unity of His followers, and to measure our response with His words.

And also we should read with careful attention the opening words of the Constitution, in which Pope Benedict spells out his response to our request:

In recent times the Holy Spirit has moved groups of Anglicans to petition repeatedly and insistently to be received into full Catholic communion individually as well as corporately. The Apostolic See has responded favorably to such petitions. Indeed, the successor of Peter, mandated by the Lord Jesus to guarantee the unity of the episcopate and to preside over and safeguard the universal communion of all the Churches could not fail to make available the means necessary to bring this holy desire to realization.

+John Hepworth, Primate         January 16th 2010

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About Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organized the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. He is also the CEO of Three Fish Consulting, LLC, an Information Technology consultancy based in Orlando, FL. He can be reached via email at ccampbell at threefish dot co.

10 thoughts on “Statement of Archbishop Hepworth on Response from Holy See

  1. At last, we have it in writing! Cardinal Kasper is wrong. Cardinal Levada wrote to our TAC Archbishops and Bishops – “This provision (the Apostolic Constitution with the Norms and Commentary) constitutes the definitive response of the Holy See not only to your original request, but also to the many others of a similar nature which have been submitted over the last years”.

    It was on December 9th that I wrote an article – http://www.theanglocatholic.com/2009/12/so-we-jumped-onto-a-moving-train/ – about the incomprehensible smoke screen Cardinal Kasper threw up around the Apostolic Constitution. If he were right, the Pope’s project would be impossible to implement.
    Cardinal Kasper made attempts in late 2007 and January 2009 to “pour cold water” over the TAC’s request for corporate communion with Rome. An Anglican cleric, misled by Cardinal Kasper’s smoke-screen, recently commented – “Anglicanorum Coetibus does seem to be designed principally for the Church of England, rather than TAC. Cardinal Kasper has said so”.

    Monsignor Mark Langham, in charge of Anglican relations at the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, said that Cardinal Levada's letter of July 2008 was a "standard Vatican holding letter" and suggested interpreting it with caution. "It's very easy to turn expectation and hope into hard fact," he said in February 2009.

    With this statement from Archbishop Hepworth directly quoting from Cardinal Levada’s letters to the TAC hierarchy, and further documentation we are to receive in a few days, the smoke-screen is blown away. The deceit and spin from those who represent false ecumenism and liberalism are finished.

    Where the light shines, darkness has no place. We indeed live historical moments.

    1. "Cardinal Kasper is wrong."

      Music to the ears, though not surprising for those of us who have followed his mendacious career previously!

      His retirement can't come too soon – not that he should have been given a red hat in the first place, but that's another story……

  2. Alleluya! The truth does set free!

    I am most appreciative of the Archbishop's pastoral admonition: "a way of achieving unity has been created … to delay implementing the fullness of communion … would be in serious defiance of the will of Jesus…."

    If we cannot begin by showing submission to our bishops, Jesus's successors, in this godly course then our quest for unity with Him in Heaven will also be in vain. My hope is for those out there, who are adamant in their refusals of unity with the See of Peter (and many have what they opine are "good" arguments), that they will forsake their fond notions of right reason and humble themselves to God's will, Whose ways are often a divine mystery.

    God bless you Archbishop Hepworth, you are in our prayers.

  3. All of us in the Pastoral Provision parishes are praying for our brothers and sisters in the Traditional Anglican Communion, that our Lord's command to His disciples will be fulfilled, when He said, "Gather up the fragments… that nothing be lost."

  4. Tomorrow we begin the Chair of Unity octave (now usually called "the week of prayer"), which was started by Father Paul of Graymoor, founder of the Society of the Atonement. From being an Anglican clergyman living a Franciscan type of life, he united himself to the Universal Church and founded a community whose objective was to work for true Christian Unity.

    At our monastery, we will be praying especially for the TACs and other continuing Anglican communities during this Octave, that all obstacles to union with the Holy See may be removed and the desired unity may be quickly achieved.

    Down with false ecumenism! Christus regnat per Mariam!

    1. We also pray for Deacon Andre of the St. Benedict Center that he may enter into full communion with the Catholic Church, as it is understood this community is not recognized by the local Church. At the same time the road for the good Deacon might be difficult, given the complexity of orders through Bishop Fulham via Archbishop Simmons of England. Rather strange: no salvation outside the Church, but reception of order from outside the office of Peter?

  5. Mingled with the fragrant prayers of those in Pastoral Provision parishes and those in TAC, are ours, who yearn with you for holy unity.

    “The current Successor (of Peter) assumes as his primary commitment that of working tirelessly towards the reconstitution of the full and visible unity of all Christ's followers. This is his ambition, this is his compelling duty.”

    BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

  6. I'd simply ask you all to pray even more now, for Hell is certainly unhappy with such developments. May the Lord strengthen the hearts those who are working to heal, even if only partially, the schism of 16th century and may the Holy Ghost bring us all together under the Vicar of Christ.

    Oremus pro invicem!

  7. Dear Brothers and Friends :

    Several months have now passed since the promulgation of Anglicanorum coetibus and its Complementary Norms. We have known for some time that further Particular Norms specific to specific Ordinariates will largely be left to each Ordinariate to work out for itself; subject, of course, to approval by the Holy See. We have also know for some time that the individual situations of clergy who may face impediments to further service under the normative rules established by the Apostolic Constitution and Norms will be dealt with on a case by case basis with charity and liberality and that the impediments will be dispensed where appropriate. There is nothing more. What more could be reasonably asked or expected?

    Back on November 17th, I wrote the following in material sent to my diocesan e-mail list:

    "… my belief that a vigorous pro-active effort to promote acceptance of the AC and Norms as we currently have them is urgently needed. As I previously stated, it is my belief that they contain everything upon which a decision of conscience should be based. It would be most helpful to have the supplementary details – details which will be of critical importance to many individuals – but which, I repeat, are details upon which ultimate judgments, even by those most directly affected, should not in my view be made. … it seems to me theologically, morally, and – in the fullest and ultimately best sense – pastorally right to forge ahead. My fear is that in waiting for weapons to fight important tactical battles we will lose the war itself; at least for many who need not be lost, including many for whom those "tactical" battles seem paramount. If things go well on the "tactical" front, all well and good, at least for those who have not already left; but will those who stay have properly oriented themselves to our new situation? to our new home? I certainly hope so, but fear that the best time to accomplish a true and complete conversion may, for some or many, have been lost."

    Since everything that can reasonably be known is known – and was, in actuality, known when I wrote the above on November 17th – why do some still hang back? why the procrastination?

    Procrastination is usually rooted in anxiety and self doubt and tends to feed on itself and become increasingly debilitating over time. To maintain and justify itself it often dons a pretend cloak of "prudence". Prudence calls us sometimes to caution, sometimes to courage; but never, when we have adaquite knowledge, to paralysis and cowardice. Is this not clearly a time when prudence calls us to courage? Is this not a time for prophetic witness and leadership? If not, when will there ever be such a time? In another half millennium?

    Of course there will also be those who reject the hand extended to us by the Holy Father. If they do so openly for what seems to them to be good reason, I will not berate them. In some cases their reasons will be petty and selfish – it is always so – but in some cases their reasons will seem to them to be matters of conscience and theological truth and, while I believe them to be profoundly mistaken, I can respect them and will pray for their eventual conversion; for the Church Catholic truly needs such men and women, we need them.

    But what of the others? What of those who have actually turned their back on the proffered hand while proclaiming otherwise? What of those who use a pretend cloak of "prudence" to mask prevarication? Now I do not accuse any specific person of this. It would be a terrible accusation to falsely make. I sincerely hope that none are guilty. Any who are guilty will know and God will know – that is enough. But they should be aware that it is not merely their own souls which they endanger but also the souls over which they have influence or care.

    Again and again we hear the refrain: "We don't want to be absorbed by Rome, we don't want to become 'Roman Catholics,' we want to remain Anglicans." After thoroughly studying the Apostolic Constitution and Norms and their assurance of the value they place on preserving our Anglican heritage and upon recognizing the historic and unique ecclesial structure being erected for us to insure that preservation, why do some keep raising that question? Sadly, I believe that their true reason – whether or not they admit it to themselves – is that they want to stay in their own little self imposed Anglican ghetto. Nothing will satisfy them because they do not want to be satisfied; they are simply unwilling to make any effort to achieve unity. Procrastination and prevarication masquerading as prudence.

    Back on November 30th, I wrote and distributed the following:

    "Some who talk of 'corporate' reunion clearly have in mind – and even aver that they will take no less – than a plan which allows Anglicans (and I speak here with particular reference to the TAC and with even more particular reference to the ACA) to maintain their existing diocesan and parish structures (perhaps graciously permitting a renaming of theses entities) with all their clergy and laity intact; which will then move as wholly functioning 'organic' bodies, possessing their own innate integrity, into the Roman fold; without Rome piercing the corporate veil to look at the individuals or the mechanisms inside. Said another way, they expect to present themselves to Rome on a 'take us or leave us' basis: warts, skeletons, and baggage included – 'We’ll let you know when we need anything else from you'.

    That is not ever going to happen. Neither the supplemental norms, nor anything else is going to bring that about – and not some milder version of it either. Anyone waiting for that is kidding themselves, and is simply rejecting Rome’s offer. I urge them to commence the task of re-thinking things now. Before going further, however, I want to stress the latitude and flexibility of the Apostolic Constitution and Complementary Norms. Without, of course, being able to speak with any certainty about the specific details of future legislation, I do think it realistic and appropriate, in light of what we do have, when examined in the context of the unprecedented openness and generosity manifest in the facts which have already occurred, not only to hope, but also to confidently expect, further acts of liberality and grace toward traditional Anglicans (and specifically the TAC) that are likely to exceed our fondest reasonable expectations and, I am certain, will greatly exceed the predictions of pessimists. I see foundations being laid which may well endure for many centuries.

    What Rome is requiring is what she has always required of those wishing her embrace; individual conversion (to the extent conversion is what is needed) and individual submission to the See of Peter. But she is offering us something else, something unique; the chance to undertake that conversion, that submission, while holding the hands of those familiar friends around us. While looking at us individually, Rome will be doing so through a specially crafted Anglican lens the properties of which will cause us to appear in our “best dressed’ Anglican context; and the 'Rome' that will be looking is likely to be comprised of members of our own Anglican household to whom that task has been given. We are not being asked to face the isolation, uncertainty, and sense of the deprivation of cherished things which previous generations of Anglicans have had to face as they responded to an inner call to join the Petrine family. We are offered something fundamentally different in both substance and mechanics than that which has before been available – for example in the US under the 'Pastoral Provision' and the 'Anglican Use' structure.

    As we step through the veil, hand-in-hand, we will find rooms – indeed an entire little wing – of Rome’s mansion prepared for our own special use, decorated with things familiar and dear to us. From the speakers will come the music of our hearts. The lords of our immediate household, not just the porters and chambermaids, will be our lords and the Rules of the Household will be our special Rules. The vast majority of our encounters with others will occur in the rooms and halls of our own special wing; but we will, of course, live in a mansion with many wings, most much larger than our own, and there will be both difficulties and joys as we learn to adjust to the others in our extended family. Most of us over the years have already had encounters with and made friends with individuals in that extended family and so may find our widening contacts to present no problem at all. But make no mistake, we will be in Rome’s mansion not in a house over the wall and across the road. It is in this opportunity to take the Roman journey together and to dwell together and to worship together in familiar ways – and to continue to do so – that qualifies this as a 'corporate' reunion. But there is no mistaking the fact that it is an individual journey as well. So let us all prepare for it."

    In a separate letter, also dated November 30th, I wrote and distributed the following:

    "It will be clear to anyone reading my comment entitled 'On Corporate Reunion With Rome' that I believe that Rome has offered us a very good deal indeed … My view is that they have given us absolutely everything of substance contained in the language of our request to them … But you see, if I understood the language as you seem to do – that we are seeking to remain an autonomous, freestanding entity, having some sort of formal inter communion agreement with Rome, but not otherwise having any entanglements with it – sort of an inter communion handshake between equals such as exists between some of the continuing church jurisdictions … then I, from the start, would have thought the whole enterprise a waste of time and not worth the trouble. Not just that it wasn’t going to happen (Rome doesn't have that kind of arrangement with anyone and is unlikely to even approach it with any save the orthodox; and even with them there will need to be a carefully crafted understanding of the Petrine Office), but that I could have cared less if , against my wildest expectations, it actually did happen. To me it would have signified that Rome was less than I had thought it to be and, therefore, that being in communion with it was of much less value. I would have felt that my perception of Rome's diminishment was a greater loss than the fact of inter communion was a gain."

    In a further letter, also on November 30th, I wrote and distributed the following:

    "In your earlier post you raised the question of 'absorption' which I didn't directly address. As used in this context, I believe absorption can only rightly be understood as meaning the incorporation of the smaller into the larger in such manner that the smaller becomes so diffused within the larger that it loses its distinct characteristics and identity. What Rome is offering is precisely the opposite. We are being offered the opportunity of being grafted into the Papal rootstock and trunk of the Catholic Vine; but, like those multi – varietal apple or pear trees which have four or five branches each with its own leaves and distinctive fruits, we will have the foliage and fruits of our distinct heritage while at the same time enjoying the increased vigor of a much hardier trunk and root stock, one with a natural resistance to many of the pathogens which have been afflicting us. I also like the description in Archbishop Falk's just issued pastoral letter:

    'Pope Benedict's unprecedented offer of a parallel structure for Anglican Catholics, a house of our own (as it were) within the compound of Catholicity.' That is not absorption.

    The Anglican Use is just the opposite. Its' handful of parishes are a mere handful because they are constituent parishes of their local dioceses; each being subject to the absolute will of the local Roman bishop on the question of whether they are even to be allowed to exist. There are so few largely because of the hostility of many Roman bishops. The few parishes that do exist are marvelous places that are living testimonies to faithful and dedicated efforts of the clergy and laity who struggled through slow and cumbersome processes in what was frequently a hostile environment to even get started, and then were left almost entirely on their own to raise themselves by their own bootstraps, without any disosesan assistance. They were given a liturgy not of their own choosing, without being able to offer any meaningful input. There are many horror stories I am sure; I am aware of some of them. Thankfully there have been a few Roman bishops who have allowed these fine parishes to now prosper and I think the number of well disposed bishops is on the rise. The Anglican witness provided by these our Anglican brothers should make it easier for us to be welcomed by our soon to be Latin Rite brothers and I hope and pray a way will be found for us to eventually reintegrate with the very good Anglican people of the Anglican Use. The structure and system offered to us is carefully crafted to avoid the pitfalls of the Anglican Use.

    Rome, having learned from the mistakes of the Anglican Use experiment, is offering us something so radically different that no comparison between the two systems is really possible because there are no points of convergence from which to begin. We will have an unprecedented role and voice from here on out, not merely in formulating the principles and crafting the details of supplementary Norms, but in selecting from among our number the men empowered to implement and enforce them. Any mistakes made from here on out are almost certainly to be of our own devising."

    Others have, of course, also repeatedly addressed these and other matters pertaining to Anglicanorum coetibus and the Complementary Norms. Archbishop Hepworth has described the manifest goodwill of the CDF officials with whom he is dealing and has explained the procedural framework and sequence for the further steps we will be taking to bring to fruition the monumentally historic events of which we are a part. And yet there are still those who say: "We need to know more before deciding. We need more reassurance. Things are not clear enough. I have to have 'it' in writing, in language acceptable to me, before I will believe it." And so on ad nauseam. This attitude, this inaction, this failure – indeed refusal – to commit or even to speak publicly in a positive, affirming way has the practical effect of opposition. It is not merely passive – it is corrosively damaging to the whole process and is functionally the equivalent of active opposition. Surely this must now be obvious to every one whose head is not buried firmly in the sand.

    IT IS NOW TIME – INDEED IT IS WELL PAST TIME – FOR EACH AND EVERY BISHOP, EACH AND EVERY PRIEST, EACH AND EVER DEACON, EACH AND EVER LAY OFFICIAL, AND EACH AND EVERY MAN AND WOMAN IN THE PEWS TO PUT ASIDE PROCRASTINATION AND PREVARICATION AND STEP INTO THE LIGHT AND OPENLY DECLARE THEIR INTENTION. MUCH PREPARATION IS NEEDED BY ALL OF US, AND ESPECIALLY THE PREPARATION OF PRAYER. INDIVIDUALLY OF COURSE, BUT ALSO CORPORATELY – THE PRAYER OF A UNITED PEOPLE OF GOD ON A UNITED AND UNITING JOURNEY INTO WHAT WE CONFIDENTLY HOPE AND EXPECT WILL BE A NEW AND BETTER HOMELAND. JOIN US IN THAT JOURNEY IF YOU WILL – AND WE DO SO PRAY THAT YOU WILL – BUT, IF YOU WILL NOT, THEN STAND ASIDE. WE ARE ANSWERING GOD'S CALL AND WILL NOT BE DENIED.
    Revelation 3:15-17 (King James Version)

    I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

    So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

    DEAR HEAVENLY FATHER, AS WE CROSS THE DIVIDE WHICH HAS LONG SEPARATED US FROM UNITY WITH THE SEE OF PETER, WE PRAY THAT THOU WILL NOT SUFFER US TO BE LUKEWARM IN OUR SERVICE AND OBEDIENCE TO THEE; BUT WILL STIR OUR HEARTS AND MINDS WITH THE CELESTIAL FIRE OF THY HOLY SPIRIT SO THAT WE MAY EFFICACIOUSLY, WORTHILY, AND PASSIONATELY CARRY OUT THE TASKS THOU HAS SEVERALLY APPOINTED TO US; AND THROUGH THE INTERCESSION OF THY SON, OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, WE ASK THAT AS WE UNDERTAKE THIS JOURNEY THOU WILL GIVE US THE GRACE TO ACT IN ALL WAYS TOWARD EACH OF OUR ANGLICAN BROTHERS AND SISTERS AS THOU WOULD HAVE US DO AND THAT THOU WILL SEE US SETTLED SAFELY IN OUR NEW HOME, INFLAMED WITH A RIGHTEOUS ZEAL TO SERVE THEE ALWAYS IN THE BEAUTY AND LOVE OF HOLINESS; ALL OF WHICH WE ASK IN THY HOLY NAME AND IN THE NAME OF THY HOLY SPIRIT AND OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST; ONE GOD, WORLD WITHOUT END. AMEN.

    Lewis +

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